Here we address three misconceptions stated by Rice et al. in their observations of our article Paz-y-Miño and Espinosa (Evo Edu Outreach 2:655–675, 2009), published in this journal. The five authors titled their note “The Theory of Evolution is Not an Explanation for the Origin of Life.” First, we argue that it is fallacious to believe that because the formulation of the theory of evolution, as conceived in the 1800s, did not include an explanation for the origin of life, nor of the universe, the concept of evolution would not allow us to hypothesize the possible beginnings of life and its connections to the cosmos. Not only Stanley Miller’s experiments of 1953 led scientists to envision a continuum from the inorganic world to the origin and diversification of life, but also Darwin’s own writings of 1871. Second, to dismiss the notion of Rice et al. that evolution does not provide explanations concerning the universe or the cosmos, we identify compelling scientific discussions on the topics: Zaikowski et al. (Evo Edu Outreach 1:65–73, 2008), Krauss (Evo Edu Outreach 3:193–197, 2010), Peretó et al. (Orig Life Evol Biosph 39:395–406, 2009) and Follmann and Brownson (Naturwissenschaften 96:1265–1292, 2009). Third, although we acknowledge that the term Darwinism may not be inclusive of all new discoveries in evolution, and also that creationists and Intelligent Designers hijack the term to portray evolution as ideology, we demonstrate that there is no statistical evidence suggesting that the word Darwinism interferes with public acceptance of evolution, nor does the inclusion of the origin of life or the universe within the concept of evolution. We examine the epistemological and empirical distinction between the theory of evolution and the concept of evolution and conclude that, although the distinction is important, it should not compromise scientific logic.
BeliefCosmic evolutionDarwinismOrigin of lifeScience education